New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Friday released new guidelines that will allow essential workers who test positive for COVID-19 to return to work sooner.
According to the latest guidelines, fully vaccinated and asymptomatic workers can go back to work five days after a positive test result, and Hochul said the determination is essential for keeping the workforce more fully staffed during the current omicron spike, reports WABC.
"That includes our healthcare, elder care, home healthcare, sanitation, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants — you know who you are," Hochul said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday changed its rules that said healthcare workers must stay out of work for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19, saying that instead, they could come back to work seven days later if they at that time are asymptomatic and have a negative test. The CDC also said that isolation times could be dropped to five days or fewer if there are severe shortages of healthcare workers.
Hochul had said she wanted to wait to see what the CDC's guidance would be. Her announcement comes as New York has set a record for positive cases, at 44,431. However, hospitalizations are at 4,744 statewide.
"With a lot of testing, the upside is we are getting a handle of where the cases are and how we can control that spread," the governor said. "We expect many of those who do test positive won't show symptoms or even just very mild symptoms that won't require them to go to a hospital or even see a doctor."
Meanwhile, 95% of adults in the state have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but Hochul stressed that one dose is not enough to protect a person from the disease.
She also announced Friday that 13 more testing sites will be launched on Dec. 29, but acknowledged that finding people to staff them has been a "challenge."
Friday in New York City, 259 new hospitalizations were reported, along with 12,915 new COVID cases. The city says it plans to distribute more home tests after it gave away thousands on Thursday.
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